Story: Southland region

Tūhawaiki letter and moko

An image of the facial tattoo (moko) of the chief Tūhawaiki marks the end of this letter. Tūhawaiki, here described as John Touwaick, writes on 28 March 1840, ‘know all men by these presents that I, John Touwaick being principle chief of the middle island and its dependencies do declare that the Island of Robucka [Ruapuke] belongs to the following parties herein specified and has been allotted and divided out by me in the following order viz Touwaick – Nicora. Toto patete W . . . cabbage – Kawho tap. Ariroa – Toby Partuck. Looloo. Felax’

It is unlikely that Tūhawaiki crafted the message himself, but it clearly asserted his mana (authority) over Ruapuke Island.

Using this item

Hocken Library, University of Otago
Reference: SO6-165L/MS-0808/B

Permission of the Hocken Library Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago, must be obtained before any re-use of this image. Further information may be obtained from the Library through its website.

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How to cite this page:

David Grant, 'Southland region - Early settlement', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/zoomify/20102/tuhawaiki-letter-and-moko (accessed 19 September 2021)

Story by David Grant, updated 1 May 2015